Finding my muse!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

OMG, I can't believe so much time has passed since my last blogging...forgive me. My schedule is just a bit crazy right now.
Not to mention that my internet provider has been down for several days! And, we don't know when it will be up and running - eek!
What a big hurdle to overcome, just like this little duck trying to get up this curb....rough! You don't know how dependent you are on the net and email, until you can't get to it. So, right now I am actually sitting at a local bookstore/coffee shop that has free wi-fi, on a Friday night (the local teen hang out- I look so "with it" sitting here with my "puter" just blogging away, drinking my cup of coffe :-) , so that I could finish posting my blog and check my email. Gosh, you feel so disconnected when you can't get your email!

Anyway, I have lots to share today on the creative side. I haven't had much time to sit and do hand sewing, but I have been playing. Playing with paint, paper, fabric, inks, stamps; I have pulled stuff from every drawer and every shelf in my studio! Since I have not done a whole lot in the mixed media arena, I felt a bit stunted when I began my journal making class with Sue Bleiweiss. I mean, I haven't even used my sewing machine all that much. So, I have been finding my muse! And, I have actually been reading the directions which came with my sewing machine and trying different feet, etc. I knew I had them for something, but just never took the time to get acquainted with them.

First, I tried embossing some fun foam - you know the stuff you find the kids department at Hobby Lobby. I took black fun foam, heated it with a heat gun and then pressed stamps into it while it was hot....great fun to see what you get. These stay flexible compared to paper clay and are much lighter in weight too. I then painted the pieces I made with lumiere paints, pearl-x, inks, etc. and sealed them. Experimenting to see what I like and what I don't. I learned that you don't want to use diamond glaze or something that dries to a hard finish as the fun foam remains flexible and if you flex it with the diamond glaze on it you get a crackle finish on the front. Modge podge or something similar works better unless you want that aged crackle look in your project. Here are some photos of messy me playing and some of the results. I also painted some tyvek with lumiere paints and then heated it...what fun, lots of great textures and colors.

Also wanted to share something I stumbled on by accident. A piece of celophane dropped on one of my Chalk Box stamp pads and I noticed it had a nice pattern of color on it so why not use it as a stamp on something. So I took it and pressed it onto a tag - voila! Isn't that fun. I did this with different colors too. It did not work with my other stamp pads, jut the Chalk Box ones. What a fun accident!

Then, I started my second project with Sue which is a sketch journal. This went pretty well. After the first lesson, I realized that I did not have all the tidbits that journal makers put into their journals...tags, pockets, custom papers, etc. sooooo, I first played with painting and stamping tags, paper, pockets, little paper bags. What is nice is that you can just do a bunch of. tags and pockets and things with a base coat - get it started, then set it aside to put the finishing touches on it when you have a project in mind so you can add specific colors, fabrics and embellishments later. I did a bunch of "starters" and put them away for upcoming projects.

Here is a photo of the completed front of my sketch journal. I cut kind of a funky shape for the closing edge and then satin stitched around the entire journal in the contrasting grape color. I added torn fabric pieces to the rings on the outside so they would not be so obtrusive, and put an embellishment at the closure (the closure is actually done with Velcro). The embellishment is actually three fabric beads I made. They contrasted nicely with this project so I .added a bit of orange/gold/purple foil to them in places and then wrapped them with copper wire and wired them together to be sort of a "button" just to have a finished look and cover up where I stitched my Velcro closure. We were supposed to use grommets, but for the life of me, I just couldn't do a nice grommet without the help of my crop-a-dile and it wouldn't reach where I needed to on this project - so, I threw in the towel and just did small button holes for my rings to go through. This worked just fine as you can see from the photo of the inside of the journal before I added the sketch pages and above .

I am still cutting pages of different types of watercolor and sketch paper to go inside my journal, but wanted some fun tags and a nice cover page that would inspire me and make me smile when I open it up. I took out some of my "starter" tags and added bits and pieces to them...tyvek, foil, fabric, a gold leaf, torn pieces of music paper, etc. I used torn pieces of my outside base fabric for the the strings of my tags. For the cover sheet front, I made a collage of pictures I printed off my computer, stamped words, torn pieces of music paper, etc. - all things that mean something to me. I did a color wash with some diluted golden paint and then sponged on some different back of this page, I did a base color wash and then again added sponged on and brushed on paints and inks.
(photos above are my inside cover sheet)
I inked my hand and stamped it in the middle of the page and then signed it and added a leaf and a torn piece of music paper. I even inked the edges of this page with the purple for some contrast. I decided I needed to seal this page front and back colored inks and gold lumiere paint as well. On the, so I did so with a matte finish modge podge. I am thinking I may splatter some paint on some of the rest of the inside pages. OK, as I was typing this, I just had to stop and go splatter some pages. This project was so much fun - it is hard to pull myself away from it! Here is the finished sketchbook - of course, I will add more pages as I go...that is the nice thing about having the rings. I am pleased with how this journal turned out and I really enjoyed with journey. As you can see the inside pocket is stitched in several places to put tags or sketching tools, pencils, etc..

My bible study lesson this week was very awakening, yes, awakening would be the word. I have read Matthew many times, but I am getting so much out of every verse in this study - things I just breezed past with confusion or indifference at other times in my life; thinking the verses just weren't speaking to me. This time, it is just wonderful. It is joyful and somber at the same time. My lesson this week was Chapter 24 which talks about the return of Christ. This is a subject that is quite a mystery on many levels, but the one thing we can be sure of, is that Christ will return and we will all be judged. When we study the prophesies in the Bible and see those that have been fulfilled, it shows us that God keeps His word and we can be sure the prophecies of future events in the scripture will take place. I sure don't claim to understand all the symbolism that is used as far as the tribulation, but I do know for a fact that Jesus will appear and before He does, the signs He has given us will be present. Chapter 24 gives us the signs to look for and warns us of perilous times toward the end of the age.
Something that has always bothered me personally, was the possibility of being mislead by false Christs or false prophets. I feel like people can sway me on most subjects if they have an argument that sounds pretty good, unless it is something I am very well grounded in and experienced with - I am pretty easy going. There are so many people these days that speak half truths and tell people what they want to hear. When we are stressed and tired - it can be easy to be misled or just give in. I have always wondered if I would persevere and not be led astray. The study in Matthew this week really spoke to me about this - we need not fear if we stay in the scripture and look to Christ for our guidance. Jesus has given us the information we need. Verses 26 and 27 of Matthew 24 say "If therefore they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go forth or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be." In other words, when Christ comes, ALL will see Him. We don't have to go looking for Him. He will make His presence know to ALL. As verse 30 says: "and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, ...they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory." This gave me such comfort to know that if I am alive at His second coming, Jesus will come to me, I don't have to go looking for Him or listen to anyone else.
Many people feel we are already in the ends times - I don't know and I don't even speculate. God said He alone knows the appointed time, and I believe Him. But, whether we are or aren't, another very important thing that is given in Matthew 24 is Jesus' instruction to be alert, be watchful for the coming of the Lord. Have you ever wondered what you will be doing at the time Jesus comes? Laundry, mowing, driving down the road? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were reading the Bible, worshiping, in prayer, or in service to Christ in some way when He comes? Yes, that would mean we would have to shift our focus to God first - so hard. I mean, I try every day and I bounce like a rubber ball - back and forth -God, me, God, me, me me, God, me, me, me, me, me, me, me.... but, I do think God understands and knows I am trying. And, when I try; really, really try, and give God the glory, I think God smiles.


Judith said...

Jules, so good to have you back. You are not going to believe this but we have been doing much the same things this week. I have been playing with mould too, specifically because I wanted leaves. Also, been playing with my machine. I have feet that I have never used too, so last weekend I had a practise with them. Great minds think alike so they say lol

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